Oil Painting Lesson – Painting Dark Skin Colors w/ Lachri

Oil Painting Lesson – Painting Dark Skin Colors w/ Lachri

today I’m going to be doing an oil painting portrait demonstration hi I’m Lisa the artist behind lockrey fine art I have had a lot of requests for you guys to do some different portraits and one of the most requested I’ve been getting is for darker skin tones so I will be doing a lot of different skin tones in portraits and hopefully the very near future but starting off I found this portrait of a guy it’s actually a body builder who it was a photo over a graphic stock where he was like working out in the gym and I just cropped out his head and shoulders and it worked perfectly for a portrait the canvas that I’m working on today was provided to me by Frederick’s this is a Frederick’s pro series oil primed Belgian linen canvas I went with this one because I knew I was going to have a lot of little detail even the little dots and all of that that I’m doing and so I wasn’t really fighting the chief of the canvas the paint especially on oil Prime linen if you’re working in oils this is my absolute favorite canvas to paint on because the paint just glides across that surface it is so nice to work on unless I’m thinking with a palette knife so in which case I want to go to one of their heavier weight canvasses because the paint will stick to it better but for this stylus painting we’re doing a lot of detail a lot of glazing love these oil private Linden canvases I have a list of all of the supplies along with the paint’s that I’m using listed below in the video description if you are supporters over on patreon you to our version of this tutorial is available for you now complete with some real-time clips so make sure to head over and check that out now let’s move on to this tutorial starting out I have everything drawn out and graphite now I do not spray anything over my graphite I don’t want to seal that down because I don’t want a chance having pencil lines show through I actually prefer to work the oil paint straight over the graphite so that it blends out and I don’t end up with graphite lines starting with the ear you guys have heard me talk about this a lot in critiques lately make sure you spend the extra time to get the ear just right this matters more than a lot of people realize pay attention to where your lights in your darks go and what I’m doing for this entire first section actually the majority of this video is working it with Davies gray Weber’s permobil white and Weber’s perm elbow black that is it I’m doing everything in gray tones and I will glaze the color over and the nice thing about this is when you work in the gray tones all you’re worrying about is your detail and your values I don’t have to worry about getting the skin tones right that seems to be a very big challenge for a lot of people is trying to mix the right color for skintone and this technique will work for oils or acrylics my first day of painting with the oils my main goal is just to get the canvas cover I am NOT going to have my detail super tight I’m going to have to come through and clean things up later but I want to get my general lights and darks mapped out that way the next day once this is dry and I use liquid which is a fast drying medium so this does allow it to dry a lot faster than it would if you were using linseed oil or one of the other oil mixing mediums so I’m just mapping things out my general lights in my darks and I did make my reference photo I changed it into black and white so that I can better judge my values as I worked and I’m fairly loose here I’m not too worried about my brush strokes at this point I’m almost just scribbling in the lights and darks I will come through and blend this out but you can see how the brush it’s kind of going every which direction doesn’t really matter here that will all blend out very very easily oil paint is one of my favorite mediums to work in when I’m doing or painting portraits because it dries so slow I have plenty of time to blend anything that I need working with acrylics it’s a bit more of a challenge to blend this again smooth leave it here I mean that forehead in the ear this is all wet at this point in the painting I had probably been painting maybe an hour and all of this is still wet and still completely blendable so if I continue to build up I can keep blending that out as needed you will hit a point with oil paint where you need to let it dry before you work on to your next layer one of the biggest complaints that people often have with oils is that they create mud and the easiest way to avoid that is when you start creating mud when things are just blending together and you no longer have your definite lights and darks let it dry put it aside come back tomorrow or whenever it drives depending on your mixing medium now for this painting I did use a combination of the liquitex or I’m sorry the liquid original which is what I’m going to be doing for my entire under painting here and then when I get into the tighter details I’m going to switch over to the liquid fine detail that is a much thinner medium so it makes it easier for getting little details like the hairs in the eyelashes or the eyebrows really just watching my values here you want to make sure when you’re adding highlights and especially on this if you’ve got a man with a bald head don’t just add highlights anywhere for the sake of highlights you will completely change the shape of their head really watch where those highlights go now on to the eye really be watch when you do any whether you’re working in black and white or you’re working in color make sure that the white of the eye is not white now here as I work it’s going to look like it’s really dark gray and if anything is once I get going you’ll see this when I start glazing color it’s not even close to being dark enough you do not want the whites of the eye white it makes it look very flat and very unnatural another area that you really want to watch and make sure that you’ve got drawn perfectly right or accurately is that crease that upper eyelid make sure that’s in the right location if you slightly raise it in one area just a little bit too high a little bit too low you will completely change the expression on that person’s face so really watch that you’ve got that perfect and I recommend pinning your reference photo and you’re painting upside down while you’re drawing and while you’re painting that section to make sure that you have it right it’ll make it easier for you to notice if things are a little bit off now here’s a good spot to notice how dark gray I’ve got the white of the eye when you compare that to the white of the canvas it looks really dark and again I’ll point it out later on when we get there this isn’t even close to dark enough it is still way way too light if you’re working and graphite that’s something to watch to areas that you think are just white it’s the white of the eye they’re not they’re going to be various shade so just be very very well aware of that now when I get onto the eyebrows notice that it’s not just one line this is the mistake that a lot of people do they shaded in one color I started with the medium gray and then built up the darker strands and hair on top of that with my liner brush but don’t try to do in every or paint in every single strand of hair that doesn’t look right but you also don’t want one big blob of like a caterpillar shape that also work look right really watch your reference photo which hair show in which ones don’t now this reference photo I loved because he had really strong light on the one side of his face and so I’ve got to make sure that I capture that and that contrast in there that’s what really drew me to this reference photo working on the nose as you guys hear me say all the time don’t outline the nose this is a mistake I often see people make when they’re painting or drawing portraits is they try to outline the edge to separate the edge of the nose from the cheek that doesn’t look right you’re going to have shadows and highlights but not actual outlines for the mouth I will more often than not paint the mouth the same color as the rest of the skin it will be slightly darker but it’s pretty much the same color unless it’s somebody who’s wearing lipstick then you’re obviously going to be a lot darker but you really want to make sure that you don’t go too crazy dark on the lips it’ll make the person look very weird especially if you’re painting or drawing a man you don’t want him to look like he’s wearing lipstick in most cases so we want to make sure that that stays fairly neutral men and children you’re going to really want to watch not to darken the lips up too much so here I mean obviously I’m working in black and white so it’s a little bit easier to accomplish but you know once I start glazing the the color over that I don’t want to go too dark there I want to keep it very very close to a skin tone also notice that the bee lips are not completely outlined he’s got a dark shadow on the upper lip but for the most part it just kind of fades into the rest of the skin you can see where the lips are but there’s not a definite line there you don’t want to separate the skin that or the lips from the rest of the skin that much because it’ll look like he’s wearing lip liner really pay attention to that and that’s something you can study on yourself look in the mirror it will transition from of your lips from your lips to the rest of your skin there’s not a heavy heavy line and so really watch that when painting portraits now as I move down to his body I’m not going to add a ton of detail here because I want this to fade out into my background and normally I paint my backgrounds first and then paint my subjects over that or in this case I painted the background around the subject as I’m paint the the subject after the reason that I did not do that here is that I need the background to blend into the subject in many areas and I thought it would be a lot easier just to do that after the second reason is I knew I was going to want to rest my hand against the canvas no I could use a mall stick a stick that you kind of lean against the top of the canvas so that you can rest your hand there and not put your hand into wet paint but it was just easier for for me to start with the ear and kind of work my way over so at no point was i resting my hand or working really over very wet paint where I needed to find detail like the ears the mouth the MA eyes other than those areas I keep my hand pretty far away from the canvas so it’s not a problem I do have to be very careful when I paint in that background since I’m doing it after I started the portrait that I don’t go crazy and end up with too many brushstrokes or lose my outside line of the face the other problem that you often have if you do the background after like this is that a lot of people will end up with this halo effect or this outline of the background where it’s lighter like it doesn’t completely look like it goes around the subject people are afraid to get that paint right up to the subject so they end up with this almost glowing outline around it make sure when you do come back through and paint your backgrounds no matter what you’re painting or drawing that the background meets the subject you want it to look like that background actually goes behind the subject and so if you stop a little too soon and end up with that edge between the subject of the background that looks terrible make sure that you’re letting that paint or if you’re working on pencils or charcoal whatever you’re working and they need to touch so here on the background I’m using a flat brush because I really want my brushes to show if I use it filbert I’m going to get much softer brush strokes which is what I used for the majority of the portrait here this flat brush is really going to work better for me once I start building up this texture I’m starting by just blocking and lucely my main colors and then I’m going to come back through with my darker colors and really get those brush strokes in there make us all stick with my camera editing skills leaving all of these brush strokes and I will add more of those later on but I want this very rough texture and I also want that to fade into you can see at the bottom where I faded that into his arm and then his upper shoulder where that fades through now we are on to the second day and I forgot to turn my video camera on because I’m a genius and so I don’t have the way that I dotted the face here but I’m going to come back and do that again the next day so you will see how I painted that but I’m now working on the body so again second day what was underneath completely dry and I’m really focused on creating more texture in the skin I don’t want this to look so smooth that his skin almost looks like plastic I want to have some texture there so I’m doing a lot of duck no I don’t you can go as far as doing hyperrealism where you can see every single pore in the scan for me I’m not I don’t enjoy working that way that would take a lot longer than what this takes so what I’m doing is creating the texture and almost a faux finish type where it’s very very quick I just need to create the hint of texture in the skin where it’s not even if you look up close obviously you’re not going to see every pore like you wouldn’t hyperrealism with photorealism I just need it to look realistic but you can still tell it’s a painting so here just adding a lot of these dots to create the texture and I need to make sure that this texture is I has a higher contrast than what I want my end result to be because when I start glazing color that’s going to make a big difference that it’s going to tone a lot of this down so now I’m on my third day of painting now these are the dots like I was doing on the second day where I’m just creating that texture adding the dots and then I’m going to take a clean brush a soft brush and just dab on top of that to tone them down because I don’t want it to look like polka dots that’s important I just want to create this texture this shine these little shiny marks I’m taking that clean dry brush right there dabbing on top of it if I were working in acrylics I would just use my finger to dab those but with oils a lot of these paints they’ll have led em especially pink white or most of the lights do so I do want to make sure I’m using paint brushes and keeping my hands clean as I work just to make sure everything is nice and safe I know some artists who like to work in gloves if you have a hard time keeping your hands clean that may be an option for you for me I actually make a bigger mess with glue I don’t like to wear gloves anyway but just the way that I can’t feel my hands I’m terrible with them I make you such a mess so I’ve got to make sure I keep everything nice and clean and even here with the liner brush look how far back my hand is on that a lot of people when they work with the liner brush they want to hold their hand right up to the bristles don’t do that keep your hand back aways in the contrast here this is pretty bold these dots no I will tone those down but even so I’m going to have my contrast with these dots with the texture very very strong too strong intentionally because once you start glazing color all of that gets muted a lot it kind of brings your lights and your darks together to this mid-range and so it’s very important if you’re going to paint this undertone like this go ahead and hype up that contrasts a bit more than what you expect your end result to be again building up these dots and then I took a mop brush and kind of tapped it on there to tone some of those down when I use the mop brush that fluffy it looks like a blush applicator I didn’t swipe it side to side like I typically use a mop brush for here I just tapped it onto the canvas to tone down those dots again just building up some of that texture of the skin a lot of highlights around the nose same thing no outlines I’ve got that heavy shadow on the one side but then we’re still back to a shadow not an outline I’ve got a lot of these dots around his eyes too now at this point if you look at the whites of the eyes it they look too white again they don’t look like they’re as dark gray as they actually were so this is where I was talking about you’ll end up wanting to go on the whites of the eyes a lot darker than you probably think initially when you’re up against the white of the canvas or the light of the paper if you’re working with pencils or watercolor or something like that it seems like you’re not dark enough when in fact or I’m sorry like you’re too dark when in fact you’re not dark enough watch when you do or paint wrinkles that’s a big thing you don’t want to overdo this if I make that wrinkle in his forehead or around his eyes too dark it’s going to make that wrinkle appear to be deeper which ages them quite a bit so when you’re painting or drawing portraits watch that you don’t overdo that wrinkles are a lot of fun to paint but if you overdo that you can age the person by a lot and those wrinkles I’ve got that kind of medium gray line and then I came on top with a slightly lighter gray on the bottom bottom side it’s not just a straight line or a one color going through starting to work on some of these lines the creases in the lips I want to make sure that these lines are slightly curved you don’t want straight lines going through you’ll flatten that surface out so I’ve got to make sure that the line is curving in the right direction to form that you guys have heard me talk lately about how drawing painting and drawing rose is a such a great way to start here’s an example I mean the lips are very similar to how you’re going to draw certain types of curling or curved rose petals you want to create that three-dimensional look and that lifts on people very very similar that’s why I think if you’re not quite ready for or you’re just starting with a medium but if you’re not quite ready for portraits painted raw get get to where you’re decent with working in roses or painting and drawing roses because so much of the way that the Roses curve in the detailing the things that you learn from that can be applied to painting so this section we’re going to are painting portraits this section we’re going to paint very quickly this is on the live stream I will have a car pop up so you can check that out but I will see in real time how I painted this you’ll also be able to see my palette so you’ll see how I’m mixing colors on that but I’m using several different shades of brown and even some magentas in here for this first layer using a lot of liquid and I’m going right over my lights in my darks just tinting that color I did use some greens in the background there that is the olive in SAP green so I’m going to let that dry completely now we’re going to move on to my second day of glazing again tinting this color and now you’re going to really start seeing how when I was talking about the detail how I wanted more contrast than what I want on the end result see how this is starting to tone down a lot of those dots they’re not so obvious anymore now that I’m starting to get the paint on top here one of the things that I’m asked so often is what color do you use to paint whatever skin tone the person is looking for there’s no one right or wrong answer in this guy I’m using maybe four or five different Browns and magenta it’s in it on top of that it’s going to depend under on the light source if I move him under different lighting I’m going to have to use completely different tones so there’s no way to say these are the colors you always use for skin tones it’s going to vary based on the person’s actual skin tone and the lighting situation that they’re under so this is where I think that it’s a little bit more helpful to use something like a color matching tool and eyedropper tool I have a couple of videos showing how I do that both with video photoshop and apps to figure out what colors I need but it’s going to be a combination of a lot of colors I can’t just find the perfect tone and paint that everywhere it’s not going to look realistic I’ve gotten reddish Browns and Browns in here that are more of a almost a greenish brown tone then I’ve got the magenta that I’m adding here this is the third day of glazing now using that mop brush to spread that around so I don’t really worry about my brush strokes here because I’m going to mop use that mop brush and get rid of all of those I did take a little bit of the glazing over the white areas of his face but not a lot I used a fair amount of liquid for that and then his lips though the same colors I used for the rest of his skin just a little bit darker also notice that the upper lip is going to be darker than the bottom lip a little change in the lighting there so we’re on to the next day of glazing I let that dry now we’re moving on now I’m really focusing I’m starting to shift more to pay more attention to the details the small little things making sure all of the lines on the lips are right the ears the eyes let that dry now we’re onto the next day of glazing and painting more details just for finding everything bit by bit and the majority of the time spent painting here was in black and white the rest of this was so easy it went through very very quickly because I already had most of the hard stuff done everything was drawn out it was all done before I ever started adding color so once I started out in color that’s really the main thing that I had to worry about just getting my color right I didn’t have to worry about making sure the nose was shaped dry that the eyes were shaped right that was all done in this painting this way makes it much easier and it looks amazing because you get so many glazes the way the rep the light refracts through each layer it makes it look very you get a lot of depth that way now this is the next live stream that I did focusing on these details so you’ll be able to see this in real time if you want to head over and check that out and again you’ll see my palette on that as well just focusing on tiny little details a lot of little dots and then smudging those dots out with a clean brush and then building up a lot of the texture in the skin as well so I’m using a flesh tint or flesh color by Windsor in Newton this is a very light almost peach color I’m using that over a lot of his highlights because I don’t want to just add white paint everywhere that’s not going to look right but using that with tiny little flat brush I’m able to create a lot more texture in his skin for these highlights an in creating dimension when you’re painting someone really pay attention those lights in those darks if you don’t have your highlights and your shadows where they should go you’ll make somebody look very flat very cartoony I need a lot more of that white and then blending that out more dots and then again like I said just tapping that with that mop brush to kind of smudge the paint out so I let that dry completely now I am on the very last day of painting here worrying more about my values in my contrast my details are I mean as far as the shape of the eyes the shape of the that’s all done this is just little detail so I’m starting here I’m using a liner brush this is a synthetic hog haired liner brush and I’m painting in some of the hairs or darkening up some of the hairs in his facial hair I’m not trying to darken everything up I’m not trying to paint in every individual strand of hair that’s going to look wiry and weird not natural I’m darkening up what I already had but only in certain areas I’m really watching that reference photo to watch how that hair is built up look at the clumps and clusters when you’re painting or drawing hair whether it be long hair short hair any kind of hair watch the reference photo you’re going to have clumps and clusters not a million individual strands those millions of individual strands actually make it look less realistic watch those clumps and clusters where your lights in your darks are this liner brush is actually a little bit damaged because I didn’t clean it well the day before but being that it’s so stiff it’s actually working really well for keeping fine fine details so if you damage a brush this one I can actually save I just need to soak it in my my brush cleaner but if you damage a brush do not throw it out there’s a very good chance it’s going to work for different techniques that a healthy or clean new brush wouldn’t have worked very well for a lot of my dry those round stiff brush as I use dry I love those when they’re a little bit more damaged the texture on those is much better I don’t like them when they’re brand new because they’re too soft little details here now look at the whites of the eyes again these are actually they look like they’re not they’re very dark with a lot of color that I’ve shaded in a lot of the color that I’m using is the same color that I use them a skin tone if I would have gone to white I’m not the whites of the eyes the highlight white wouldn’t have shown up I had to make sure that all of that you know that the whites were dark enough for the highlights to still show up I’ve also got a few little dots around the eyes which makes them look more glossy a little bit more wet like there’s actual tears not crying tears you guys know what I mean but in there you see me use q-tips a lot to clean up areas that I don’t like if I screwed something up q-tips are one of my favorite supplies with oil paint I always have a lot of them on my easel two white areas that I got a little bit too dark on few more little hairs in here just tiny little details there was another area if I mess up I’m just going to take that q-tip and smudge that out because everything underneath is completely dry if I have to remove an area if I realized oh my gosh that was the wrong color it’s too dark whatever I can wipe it off and it doesn’t mess up what’s underneath very very easy to fix the stakes if you’re letting everything dry before you move on to your next layer and that will help you to keep from ending up with a very muddy painting that complained that a lot of people have about oil paints that they get muddy that they over basically people to start letting them dry in between layers you let it dry there it’s actually one of the easier mediums that I work in but there is the finished painting and yeah that photo if you want to paint this you can get it from graphic sock this is not a sponsored video but I have worked with them in the past actually have a sponsored video with them coming up in the future so just for transparency but this video itself is not sponsored but that is where that reference photo came from it weirds me out when I look at the viewfinder because it feels like there’s someone right over my shoulder also it makes me way more aware of how little Sun I get I am truly a vampire and way too pale up against him sir you’re making me self-conscious with myself don’t glare at me I know I could use some Sun none of somebody’s as pretty as you are funds back and heal too many oil painting fumes and you go crazy and talk to your canvases have you subscribed yet if not I have a handy button right there it’s around 7 or 0 going to it if you click on that it’ll help you to keep up to date with all 5 of my new art videos every single week I’ll see you guys tomorrow

50 thoughts on “Oil Painting Lesson – Painting Dark Skin Colors w/ Lachri

  1. Lisa, you've inspired me to start painting … you videos are very motivational 🙂 Thanks! ever since I tried out oil… i cannot go back to acrylic…..oil is so much easier than acrylic (except for the drying time), including blending and matching colors as it dries 99% same color as in wet.. not as acrylic.. which is soooo difficult to do protraits as I can never get the exact skin color by mixing….. p.s. i love the speed you talk…. XD

  2. The painting looks really good!! I was a bi surprised because the painting looks a lot more orange in the photo of the painting then of the video

  3. I hope that the gentleman that is the subject of this painting sees it. I'm pretty sure that he would be seriously flattered, you did a gorgeous job on this. 🙂

    And I want to toss out a thank you for putting so much information in every one of your videos. I may not be able to use everything you share (Oil painting is not possible in my house, COPD sufferer lives here heh), I use a lot of your techniques in much of what I am teaching myself to do. 🙂 So thank you for being you.

  4. The tip of using a black and white photo is a great tip Lisa! 🎨 Thanks for continuously sharing your gift ❤️🤗 IntuitiveNeptuneU.WordPress.com

  5. great tutorial as always! i see a lot of artists struggling with the colors for darker skin, i think they use browns that aren't saturated enough and look kind of gray. i like it when it has a richer undertone like your portrait has 🙂

  6. thank you, first time I've watched and not experienced in oils – will be supporting you on Patreon

  7. Drinking this all in over here Lisa! Would you consider doing the same for extra pale skin? I'd love to paint very fair, almost translucent skin with all the different hues throughout so it looks luminous – not dull. I started working in oils about a year ago after working in colored pencil for years and am in love! This is a gorgeous portrait

  8. You did such a great job. The painting is beautiful and he's beautiful. well, I guess I should say handsome instead

  9. Another great painting and valuable lesson, Lisa.  I love oil painting, but I'm curious….Considering your skill with acrylics, which includes your glazing technique and method for keeping paint wet, do you think you could have gotten the same results using acrylics? Would there have been much of a time difference in completing the painting if you had used acrylics?

  10. Great painting…Could you consider displaying a reference photo in a corner of your screen for your portrait tutorials?

  11. This is great! Just what i was looking for. I would like to know how you did the drawing. Did you use a grid or projector or did you just eyeball it?

  12. Amazing video! Thank you for sharing. When you start glazing. do you apply the glaze uniformly? or are you applying one glaze to the darks, and a different glaze to the lights for example? And did you eventually tint the lips as well?

  13. Hi lisa i am an artist from the caribbean and came across your video which has helped me soooo much in skin tones,your work is absolutely amazing,thank u for sharing such a profound and informative tutorial here on youtube.Do you have any complete tutorials on this subject available for sale online?

  14. hello lachri, awesome artwork! What do you do with the dirty paint thinner from cleaning your brushes once it is so dirty that is no longer cleaning the brushes? Should I just throw mine throught the sink? I think it could be bad for environment but I can't come up with a way to get rid of that dirty paint thinner

  15. Could you please do a tutorial on how you draw a painting ready portrait. Like, how you gauge proportions and stuff, and how you demarcate different areas of tones … your paintings are great. I wish you would explain your preliminary drawing process

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